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10 Questions to Ask When Thinking About Switching Retail POS Software

Posted by Petra Geiger on Apr 3, 2019
Petra Geiger
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The idea of switching from one retail POS software system to another can be a daunting task, understandably so. Besides the learning curve and initial set-up that's involved, there's data migration, hardware and training to consider. To compound issues, there are a plethora of online retail software solutions on the market. How can you determine what is the right fit for your business? You've probably asked yourself, is it really worth it?

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The truth is, if your current point of sale system isn't supporting your enterprise, then it is definitely worth considering your options. Today, POS platforms do far more than just ring up a sale. They are powerful retail management platforms that are designed to help you take your business to the next level. Finding the right fit can make a huge difference to your bottom line. The best place to start is by asking yourself key questions to ensure you are dialed into what you need and help you fine-tune the selection process.

10 Key questions to help discover your retail point of sale software needs:

1)  Is my system outdated, lacking the reporting and inventory management tools that I need to compete?
We get used to what we know and it's human nature to resist change. But today's business landscape is a far cry from 5, 10, 15 years ago. We are in the age of information, and if your system is outmoded and not giving you the data and flexibility you need to stay competitive, then it's time for a change. Today's retail POS software provides deep functionality that can help you be agile and responsive, giving power to your sales team to be proactive with customers. Along similar lines, if it's tough to train new employees because the system is quirky and cumbersome, it's time to consider other options.

2)  Is your POS system designed specifically for your industry?
Many POS software solutions claim to handle cafés, restaurants, retail, franchises... all of the above. The reality is that these businesses have distinctly different needs and requirements. Carefully consider this as you compare platform: a system that handles it all may not have the flexibility or customizability for your specific needs. A secondary question to this is, do I have to alter my desired business practice because of my POS system's limitations?

3)  Can you access your back office anywhere, anytime from any device? 
If you have to physically be in the store to access your store's data, it's time for an upgrade. Cloud based computing gives us access to our data wherever and whenever we need it, and this capability puts you at a distinct advantage. An important follow up question to this is whether you have access to real-time inventory updates? If you have to wait for a manual sync or download, you're wasting precious time and effort.

4)  Do you have to pay to upgrade your software? Or pay extra for customer support?
If you're finding that every time there is an upgrade or you need an integration, service, or support there's a fee involved, then it might be time to consider another pricing model. Some systems have low upfront costs but charge for each additional item, while others have a slightly higher monthly cost but never, ever charge for software upgrades or service. Every brand and retailer has their own preference, just understand that there are options and you should find the one that suits your long-term business model.

5)  Do you have to pay for your integrations with third party software?
Integrations are essential components of today's retail point of sale software. Regardless if it's a loyalty, marketing, ecommerce, buying, or credit card processing integration, you should ask yourself three key questions:

  1. What integrations will I need to streamline and manage my business more cohesively?
  2. Who does the POS system integrate with and how do they handle it? For instance, do they have an open API with the ability to partner with other premier platforms or do they have the integrations baked into their code? Each option has advantages and disadvantages.
  3. What does each POS software provider charge, if anything, for their integrations or applications?

6)  Can you connect your ecommerce website to your POS for an omnichannel solution?
Today's shopper demands a streamlined shopping experience regardless of the channel. Ecommerce and brick and mortar ideally should be connected and aligned for smart retail management. If you are operating an omnichannel retail business, is your current POS software up to the challenge?

7) Are your retail reports providing you with the right data to help you make smarter decisions?
Data is the key to success in the current retail climate. It may be customer, inventory, or sales data, but regardless, it needs to be powerful, flexible, and respond to your needs. Many point of sale software platforms have canned reports while others have hundreds of individual data points that you can manipulate in any way you choose. What do you need for your unique retail business? Do you have customizable dashboards dashboards and reporting features that are flexible, functional, and easy to use?

8)  Are you considering opening more locations?
Are you a single retail location happy with where you are, or are you looking at the horizon with an eye toward expansion? Whether or not you are (or want to become) a multi-location retailer can influence which POS software you choose. Think deeply about your growth plans and ensure that you are choosing a system that has the flexibility to grow with you.

9)  Do you have to use the credit card processor your software tells you to?
You do have options. Many POS systems will dictate who you need to use for credit card processing (or make it very hard to switch) while others integrate seamlessly with a plethora of processors. Be sure and ask this key question as you consider your switch and evaluate the options.

10)  Would you like to better manage your customer relationships and be proactive about curating their experience?
Retail trends come and go, but customization (in all its many facets) is here to stay. Customers demand it and more than ever expect you to understand what their preferences are - often before they do. Look closely at how each POS retail management system manages your customer data and, more importantly, how you can utilize that data to better engage your customers through service, loyalty programs, and marketing efforts.

There's no denying that contemplating a POS system change can be a tough call. But with a methodical approach and by asking the right questions, you can narrow the field of contenders and find the right fit for you. Our sales team at Springboard Retail is focused on ensuring that our retail point of sale software is perfect for you. If not, we'll tell you. For a free consultation, and to ask any question that you can possibly think of, don't hesitate to reach out!

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Topics: POS software

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